Answered By: Kristie Keuntjes, Learning Services Coordinator
Last Updated: Jul 16, 2019     Views: 1037

What is a policy brief?

A policy brief is a short summary of an issue, policies to deal with it, and recommendations for the best options.  Policy briefs are meant for government policymakers and others who are interested in influencing change in polices.  It is a way to help your audience understand and make decisions about government policies.

How do I write a policy brief?

Before beginning your brief, decide what kind of policy brief you are going to write.

Advocacy Brief:  This type of brief argues in favor of a particular course of action or policy.

Objective Brief:  This type of brief provides a balanced view for the policy maker to make up his or her own mind regarding a particular course of action or policy.

Once you decide what type of brief you are going to write, here are the sections often included in a policy brief.  It is up to you how you want to structure your brief:

  • Title:  Short, catchy, and to the point
  • Summary:  Provides the main points included in the policy brief
  • Context/scope of the problem
  • Policy alternatives/implications:  Provides suggested revisions to the policies, effects of the revised policies, advantages and disadvantages of each option.
  • Policy recommendations:  Clearly stated in an easy to understand manner, easy to find, short, and realistic. 
  • Appendices:  Extra information the audience may need but may be too much to include in the brief itself.
  • Resources:  Reliable and credible resources you used throughout your brief.

Now that you have your structure in place, it's time to conduct your research and start writing.  

Do you have any examples of a policy brief?

Yes!  See the files below.



Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. (n.d.). Writing effective reports: Preparing policy briefs. Retrieved from

University of North Carolina Writing Center. (2018). Policy brief.  Retrieved from


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